Homicidal pet goose is a magical phrase to me. It pretty much guarantees I will pick up a book, given my affinity for crotchety characters. Y’all Fly Trap (Twilight Robbery in the UK) by Frances Hardinge is a door stopper, clocking in at 584 pages but reads faster than books half it’s size. It’s the sequel to Fly By Night but you don’t need to have read that to appreciate Fly Trap. Personally, I did NOT read Fly By Night and got through Fly Trap just fine.
Okay, so I just want to set the scene for you before we get to the meatier bits of this review. Mosca Mye is fly born, meaning she was born during a night sacred to Goodman Palpitattle, a god who keeps flies out. Names play SUCH an important role in Fly By Night. Eponymous Clent, Mosca’s accomplice, is in jail for debts. Saracen, her homicidal pet goose, is wrecking terror on the countryside and biting people right and left. So, the gang needs to leave their current town and go to the next destination, Toll, a town that you need to pay to get in and out of. So anyways, Toll is populated by deeply superstitious people. Those who have good names, based on the hour and day they were born, are trusted and get to live in Toll-By-Day, but must become nonexistent at night when people with bad names, the Toll-by-Night citizens come out. And let me tell you, the Toll-By-Night citizens are a seedy bunch. Anyways, Mosca and Clent TOTALLY get caught up in the political scheming which involves a mayor and this mafia-like order called the Locksmiths.
Friends, if you have the attention span of a gnat, don’t read Fly By Night. Seriously, Frances Hardinge’s writing is fantastic and detailed and awesome, and I’d rather recommend this to people who I know will appreciate it, rather than someone looking for a super quick read and not to invest. If you believe the amount of time you put in is worth the pay off, then get thee a copy of Fly Trap. Seriously, this book is a BALLER. Yes, a baller. I know that I will forever love political scheming in fantasy and religious systems based on the power of names. Or magic based on names (holla atcha KVOTHE).
And okay, to further sweeten the deal when it comes to my love jones for Fly Trap I have to mention the characters, like I do in EVERY SINGLE BOOK REVIEW I EVER WRITE. Because characters are kind of a big deal. The characters in Fly Trap are multifaceted. They continued to surprise me throughout the book. No one is perfect. No one is totally evil. Even Mosca, the main character, has her fair share of faults. She’s stubborn. She’s got a mouth like a sail0r — I mean, there are no ACTUAL swears used, but in the context of the world created by Frances Hardinge, Mosca could be my language twin with that mouth. Then there’s Eponymous Clent who is hard to read, I mean that in the sense that I don’t know what to expect with him. Is he going to sell Mosca out or what? And yes guys, I totes have a girlcrush on Mosca, because she is the shit. She rocks. And okay, I totally feel her when she gets jealous of this girl, Beamabeth, with her daylight name, because she feels that girl has stolen her name. And I say this as someone who used to hate her own name for a very very long time. Seriously, I always wanted a more normal cool kid name.
Fly Trap by Frances Hardinge has an awesome concept. Seriously, this novel is perfect if you LOVE Megan Whalen Turner. If you are patient enough for Eugenides’ story, you should also be patient enough for Mosca Mye. Also, if you love a good revolution or talk of a revolution, I absolutely recommend Fly Trap without reservation.
Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my local library.
This is a CYBILS nominee.